As I came to map out the work week with Sheri this morning, I made space to sit at the dining room table that looks out on the forest, reclaiming an edge from her paper collage experiment.
I make efforts to be gentle and remind her not to apologize.
It’s not the laptops and cellphones we should be making space for, after all, but the more uncommon beauty that takes time to be arranged.
It’s not uncommon to find Charlotte hard at work on a project here, or artwork from one of Ellie’s ad hoc drawing games.
They’re beautiful rough drafts, unfinished, forever in process.
And so are their artworks. :)
Often, there’s music notation or photos cut from magazines or several books stacked up for school projects with pages sticking out of them. An unexpected visitor could wonder if we live on a diet of multicolored paper. And we’re obviously over-indulgers.
In fact, you’ll find paper in every room of the house (not even including the rolled kind or the kind that comes in tissue boxes). Multiple books, notebooks, manuscripts, drawings, and plans are stashed, stacked and strewn in their respective locations, waiting to be reingested.
Like cud. :)
And for some reason this morning I stopped to wonder why. We each have our digital devices, but why this deep vice of consuming paper? We hang it on walls, give it as gifts, organize our lives around it. And no one ever talks about reduction, only increase.
If the trees could see in the windows, they might turn on us and start throwing their fruit and pinecones.
An observant person might see all this paper as evidence of an obsession with creativity. Their shared passion is for the words, music and pictures we’re preserving, an insatiable appetite born of a deep curiosity.
I believe it’s a sacred inner fire: the holy pursuit of delight.
How do they determine what makes it onto a page? Some ideas need to be chewed a while, to reshape things in your mind and heart. Some things you keep coming back to over and over, teaching you how to listen and growing your ability to hear them. Some are waiting for their right moment to show you how to more fully engage with life.
Some of the smallest pieces can hold the biggest thoughts you’ve ever had. And I don’t have to watch their faces to know there’s delight in every mark. Whether tentative or confident, every sweep of captured motion hints at a hidden world.
If you came to visit today and we had this discussion over coffee in the morning, or tea in the afternoon (or whiskey in the evening, I suppose, if you stayed that long), I’d submit that this pursuit of delight is our messy, introverted way to honor and delight our creative God.
As we make space for all of this, all we sense him speaking through, we feel a sort of shared delight if you will, equipping us to understand and take in more of our purpose in this journey.
We’re not unique in this, though we each have unique perspectives and gifts. And there’s beauty in all of it, though much of the time experiments fail and don’t live up to expectations. But the more we can realize what we’re really doing, and acknowledge that–“I am pursuing my holy delight”–the better we can pay attention when the voices of doubt and derision come.
What you acknowledge is what gets captured.
And you can write that down and stick it somewhere in your own messy house to come upon later. I share it in the hope that it will reshape you as it has me into someone more confident and less concerned with the appearance of mess.
For it’s a holy pursuit, this creative life. And we take time to be arranged and to realize the delight we’re a part of every day when we determine to capture even one more glimmer.
For it’s your own hearts we’re ultimately reclaiming, for the higher purpose,